The Refugees

Narrated by: Viet Thanh Nguyen
Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
4 out of 5 stars (788 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but also the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen's next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of 20 years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.

With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration.

The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.

©2017 Viet Thanh Nguyen (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Nguyen's gentle and expressive voice contains an authenticity of emotion along with impeccable timing and perfect pronunciation.” ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about The Refugees

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good collection of short stories

After reading his award-winning The Sympathizer, I wanted to follow it up by looking at some more stories from Viet Thanh Nguyen. The Refugees is a collection of eight or nine stories that saw original publication in order sources. After the success of The Sympathizer, his publisher brought these works together into this collection. All the stories feature Vietnamese characters and are set either in America as immigrant tales, or in Vietnam, as is the case with the last story of the collection featuring a father who receives a visit from a daughter who has "made it big" in the states as a pediatrician. Themes such as aging, young love, regret, and deceit work strongly throughout the collection. All of the stories are excellent and help to illuminate the lives of Vietnamese immigrants.

The author narrates the collection himself, and as is often the case with such things (SEE "The Lovely Bones," as an example) the results are good, but not great. Great narration is an art in itself, and sometimes the best idea is to bring in a hired gun for the job.

42 people found this helpful

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Terrific storytelling

What made the experience of listening to The Refugees the most enjoyable?

Mr. Nguyen command of the English language and his storytelling. Emotional, insightful, informative.

What did you like best about this story?

Different aspects and personalities of the characters in each story

Have you listened to any of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I listened to The Sympathizer -- though written but not read by him.
That book was excellent - listened twice.
He reads as well as he writes.
Listened to this book twice as well.

18 people found this helpful

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amazing

As a Vietnamese refugee myself every story resonated. Thank you for allowing the rest of the world and the younger vietnamese generation to emmerse themselves in our stories.

17 people found this helpful

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Excellent collection of short stories by author of The Sympathizer

A very well-written, imaginative collection of short stories which, like The Sympathizer, rejuvenates thoughts and meaningful memories of the Vietnam War era and the relation of that era to today's world. Recommend.

16 people found this helpful

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Okay stories, bad narrator

This narrator made these stories hard to listen to. The first story was too supernatural and weird for me. The next two were somewhat interesting tales of refugees, but I quit after that. Excellent narration is the norm at Audible, and so this was a rare narration disappointment. I don't recommend this audiobook.

4 people found this helpful

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Great portrayal of Vietnamese Immigrant

I have many vietnamese friends and know some of their family very well. Most of my friends came here as young adults as immigrants from Vietnam. The stories are so true based on the what my friends and their family have told me over the years. Some of these stories like the ones on the boat, the father returning to see everything they owned handed over to the government, the re-education camps and what it really did to the physiology of both the "re-educated" and their families, the subjective truth about how life in USA is by the viet kieu returning to visit vietnam are stories I have heard so many times!

And the locations: Garden Grove, Little Saigon in Southern California, China Town in San Francisco...it's like being with my friends and experiencing their tradition and culture in the USA all over again, but in a book written to perfection by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Great job!

1 person found this helpful

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a book of short stories

I didn't realize this was a book of short stories. at first this made it some what disjointed for me to listen to, expecting characters to reappear somewhere. I also found the first few stories less likable than the ones toward the end. Overall interesting glimpses into various lives, the author is able to help you understand the frustration, confusion and lack of support of a refugee.

1 person found this helpful

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Compelling everyday stories of refugees

This book changes the narrative on refugees by speaking on their everyday life. From finding love to going to work, this book creates relatable stories that you just want to sit and finish. The narration is excellent and the pacing of the book makes each story distinguishable from the next.

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great refugee stories

A series of short stories about vietnamese refugees. Engaging story telling and varied. I liked it

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Majestic writing

Captivating stories that grasped my attention from the beginning to the end. This is the second book that I have listened from this author and again I am impressed with his writing style.